One fine day, I was taking my usual after-lunch-stroll-around-the-building with my daily colleague lunch group. It was around 1.45 PM. This is the most probable time when people get calls offering Pre-approved personal loans, credit cards, investment schemes and a lot of other things. I have devised my own tactics for turning down such calls without actually using bad words. After all, the people calling you with these ads n promotions are just doing their job, trying to earn their share of bread-butter for the day. So I talk politely and give all kinds of stupid reasons for not taking whatever they are offering. Some of the reasons I come up with sound almost genuine to most of the people.
Anyway, that day was no exception and I got a few calls which gave me opportunity to use my imagination. I was musing n laughing to myself I got another call. Readying my brains I answered it. A girl greeted me in Marathi (instead of usual “Am I talking to Mr. Sudarshan….?”) and told her name. She said she was calling from a NGO from Mumbai and they work to help the underprivileged children. She went ahead and told me about how they organize camps and give away cloths, food, books etc. I was listening. They were looking for common people like us to donate whatever amount we can afford. For first time I did not interrupt to use my usual tactics. Somehow I could see the genuine passion in her voice, the passion for whatever work she was doing. I let her talk for a while. Then suddenly, my brain kicked in with my usual tactics and I made up a good reason to tell her. I told her about similar initiative taken by my company with help of a local NGO (which is true) and how I am also kind of part of it (which I am not, though I want to be). I practically lied. I told her I was already contributing through my employer. She said it is really nice of you sir. And to my surprise she actually thanked me for being considerate and listening to her before hanging up.
After I hung up, the usual joy of victory did not come to me. Instead, I was feeling guilty about it. There was nothing to feel happy about. I felt bad. At least I could have told her plainly that I do not want to donate anything right now. But I had to make up some stupid lie (which led to get me respect which I did not deserve). I did not tell this to anyone.
Days went by, and I forgot this little incident. I continued shooting down pre-approved credit cards and personal loans. Last week, I again got a call from same girl for same purpose. I recognized her because of her unique way of talking. I guess she had not kept track of calls made or something because she had no record of calling me before. I was in a hurry so I cut her short and told her that we have talked about this before and my answer is same. Again she just said thanks and cut the call.
And then it struck me. Then it all came back to me. I remembered how bad I had felt lying to her for first time. I had done it again. And this time I could not control myself. I picked up my phone and called back on her number. It was picked by someone else at the NGO. I asked for her by name and apologized (not directly) by telling her that I have turned you down twice with some reason while you guys are actually doing some good work, so please tell me ways I can donate some money. It shocked her that someone actually called back to say this. She told me how much I can donate and what impact it will have. I felt really good about myself after hearing all the things they were doing for children. Not that I was donating a big amount as I am not a billionaire. But I donated what I felt right.
Believe me, there is no feeling as good as being able to do something for someone. It does not matter what you donate, do it in terms of money, time, cloths or anything else, it’s a good deed, and it will make you feel good.
Here is the link for the NGO’s site: http://www.savethechildren.in/